Points of entry

Most of the language and approach to working with trauma has to do with harm mitigation, mental health, and large scale disaster management. But when we look at the impacts of trauma on the brain, it seems obvious that there are many ways to work with and counter those impacts outside of immediate needs for health and survival.

There are many points of entry for the work (in no particular order):

  • Rebalancing relationships with Nature

  • Restoring and strengthening community

  • Individual/personal exploration and integration (which includes any practice primarily impacting the individual, such as movement and spirituality)

  • Mitigate/contain harmful behaviors toward self and others

  • Creative expression; art, movement, sound play

  • Integrate a Trauma-Informed Care approach at all levels; develop pathways for systemic and institutional reform (usually focused on mental health and harm reduction practices)

  • Settle and expand the nervous system: practices that focus on strengthening the connections between the amygdala and pre-frontal cortex, settling the body through directed tasks and activities, including exposure to other settled bodies, and encouraging the nervous system to expand through curiosity and exploration

  • Acknowledge and transform historical/systemic damage: Acknowledging and addressing our personal and collective legacies of systemic and historic trauma, understanding that we are an interdependent species living within a planetwide ecosystem

For educators, settling and expanding the nervous system aligns almost perfectly with the conditions needed for all types of learning, including intellectual. Accepting that these are all ways to approach dealing with our own, others’ and our planet’s traumatic experience opens a way to connect through those shared experiences; to make meaning of them individually and as a collective.